Q&A with Professional Organizer, Christel Ferguson
What…you don’t have a home inventory? No problem. Mercury Insurance recently sat down with Christel Ferguson, professional organizer and owner of Space to Love, and asked her to provide a few home inventory tips for homeowners and renters.
MERCURY: Why is keeping an updated home inventory important?
Christel: I feel a home inventory is important to anyone who has insurance. If something should happen, the claims process will go a lot smoother. After a disaster, it will be very difficult to remember everything in your home without one.
MERCURY: What are some of the challenges of creating a home inventory?
Christel: I think that the biggest challenge is getting started and finding the time to do it.
MERCURY: Any advice on what to include when creating a home inventory?
Christel: Include anything of value – electronics, silver, china, artwork, furniture, rugs and jewelry – as well as any collectibles like books, a wine collection and expensive ceramic or crystal items. Remember to include shoes and handbags!
MERCURY: Photos, spreadsheets or both?
Christel: I would do both, as well as a video.
MERCURY: Any tips for homeowners on how to streamline the process?
Christel: I find it’s easiest to go room by room. Take a video and then start taking pictures. Then, start filling in the spreadsheet.
MERCURY: How can a disorganized person keep better track of new purchases for insurance purposes?
Christel: The best way for an unorganized person would be to hire someone to help them put a system in place they could then follow. If they can’t hire someone then they should take a picture or scan the receipt shortly after the purchase and upload it to a digital file that is kept either in Dropbox or another cloud storage account that was created for the home inventory. The hard copy should be put in an envelope that is then kept off the premises at their office or in a safe deposit box. They can store it in the house in a fireproof box for important papers, but the chances of them having access to it or even finding it for some time after a disaster is highly unlikely. As an organizer, I realize everyone is different. I think each person needs to find whatever works best for them.
MERCURY: What about appraisals?
Christel: If you have fine art, antiques, silver or jewelry, it would be best to have it appraised. This will make it easier when it comes time to submit your claim.
MERCURY: How do you find a good appraiser?
Christel: A good start would be with the American Society of Appraisers or Angie’s List. I would also go to the local art gallery, jewelry store and/or antique shop and ask who they use, or they may be able to do it for you.